May 23, 2011

183rd RTI troops stage mobile reception station for statewide exercise

By Sgt. 1st Class A.J. Coyne
Virginia Guard Public Affairs

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. — A group of Soldiers from the 183rd Regiment, Regional Training Institute set up and operated a mobile reception site May 15 at the State Military Reservation in Virginia Beach as part of the Virginia National Guard’s 2011 Mayhem Exercise.

 
Virginia National Guard Soldiers from the 183d Regiment, Regional Training Institute, and members of the Virginia Defense Force set up a mobile reception site May 15 at the State Military Reservation in Virginia Beach in order to validate personnel and equipment coming from another state. In the scenario, Soldiers and Airmen from the Virginia National Guard's Chemical Biological Radiological Nuclear High Yield Explosive Emergency Response Force Package were a CERFP from Indiana and traveled to Virginia to provide assistance to the commonwealth during a crisis situation. (Photo by Sgt. 1st Class A.J. Coyne, Virginia Guard Public Affairs)

Seven Soldiers were on duty at Fort Pickett providing communication with the Joint Operations Center in Sandston, while 13 Soldiers from various RTI battalions were at SMR to receive and welcome the nearly 200 Soldiers and Airmen of the Virginia Guard Chemical Biological Radiological Nuclear High Yield Explosive Emergency Response Force Package (CERFP).

The units and servicemembers of the CERFP arrived from throughout the state and the District of Columbia, but for scenario purposes this CERFP was from Indiana and traveled to Virginia in response to a request for emergency assistance.

The event at SMR was the start of a four-day command and control exercise for the Virginia National Guard to train on existing emergency response plans, policies and procedures to ensure it can rapidly respond to the needs of the citizens of the commonwealth in their time of need.

Although the Maneuver Training Center at Fort Pickett is the designated Joint Reception, Staging, Onward movement and Integration site, the day-long event at SMR was an opportunity to test a mobile reception center to receive and account for units when Fort Pickett is not a practical rallying point.

“The concept is that we could do this anyplace, anytime,” said. Lt. Col. Bryan Coleman, commander of the 3rd Battalion, 183rd RTI and one of three team commanders on the ground in Virginia Beach. “We’ve learned a lot and real world events have influenced how we set up this mission.”

The three teams were responsible for command, personnel and logistics and made contact with the units as soon as they entered the state to provide them with immediate information.

 
2nd Lt. Jim Newman, Virginia Defense Force headquarters company commander, leads a team of personel from the VDF who deployed from Sandston to Virginia Beach with a Tactical Command Package to establish communication for the personnel  at the mobile reception site. (Photo by Sgt. 1st Class A.J. Coyne, Virginia Guard Public Affairs)

Also on the ground were four members of the Virginia Defense Force, who deployed from Sandston to Virginia Beach with a Tactical Command Package to establish communication for the personnel at the mobile reception site.

“The VDF is an integral part of this mission,” Coleman said. “We have internet VOIP, video conferencing, satellite communication, printing and scanning and video and still upload capabilities,” said 2nd Lt. Jim Newman, VDF headquarters company commander. “In a real world scenario we would facilitate communication with the JOC and support personnel and logistic reporting."

The TACPAK was set up to run off vehicle and solar power and has the key capability to communicate via satellite if cell phone reception isn’t available.

The event in Virginia Beach was a great opportunity to interface with units the VDF is tasked to support, according to Newman.

“We’re all learning about each other and how we can assist one another in the mission.”

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